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Car Tips and Articles

Frozen Wiper Blades Do’s and Don’ts

This winters freezing and then thawing temperatures are the perfect conditions for frozen wiper blades frozen to you vehicles windshield. There have been many mornings this winter that I am faced with my wiper blades frozen solid to my windshield. When this happens I am always tempted to scrape them away from the glass with my ice scraper or simply rip them off the glass. Both are bad ideas.

Scrapping your frozen wipers to release them from the glass is not good for either the windshield or the wiper blade. This type of scrapping can nick the surface of your windshield and somewhere down the road a long crack will appear. Expensive and avoidable. Scrapping is also not good for the rubber squeegee on your wiper blade as it can tear it from the blade itself ruining your wiper and requiring replacement.
Customers have also suggested using hot water to temporarily thaw the wipers free. This sounds like a possible solution but it isn’t for a number of reasons. Firstly hot water on a frozen cold windshield is likely to crack the glass. Secondly hot water on a cold surface with below 0C temperatures will result in water turning to ice and then coating your wiper blade, your windshield and any surface it touches ie. The ground you are standing on.
Here is how I handle the situation:
Take action and be patient – Start your vehicle and put your window defroster on high. The initial air will be cold until your engine warms up and it will slowly thaw the surface and since your defroster blows air at the base of your windshield it will focus the air on the area where the wiper is frozen to your windshield. To aid this gently remove all snow from your windshield. Removing this excess will provide less matter for the defroster to melt. Continue to clean the rest of your vehicle and then return to the frozen wiper blades and gently test to see if they have melted free. Once they are released move the arms of the wipers to the upright position so they are in the air and no longer in contact with the windshield. Now gently wipe any excess ice from the wiper blade. This should be partially melted so it is easily removed at this point. Now scrape any remaining ice from the windshield. This will be partially melted so it is easy to remove. When both the wipers and the windshield are cleared of ice return the wipers to the surface of the windshield and you are on your way.
Some people recommend using some winterized windshield washer fluid to try to thaw the wipers from the windshield chemically. I am not a fan of this for two reasons. If you use the washer jets on your car to apply the washer fluid you are also activating your wiper motors. If the wipers are frozen to the windshield you can burn your wiper motors out or strip the gears that drive the wipers. If you pour additional washer fluid from a container you are adding excess liquid to the surface and excess liquid in freezing temperatures is not recommended.
Tip: To prevent your wipers from freezing to your windshield in wet thawing and freezing conditions you can move your wipers to the up position when you park your car. You often see people who have done this and it works.
We recommend you check your wipers every season for wear and tear. A worn wiper does not effectively clear the surface of the windshield resulting in poor visibility. A warn wiper can also scratch the surface of your windshield requiring premature replacement – an expensive repair.
As always we recommend you maintain your vehicle to avoid avoidable and expensive repairs. Check your blades regularly and replace them when worn. If your wiper motors or system are not performing, as they should we also repair motors replace blades and do required adjustments. Precise Car Service is your vehicle care and repair shop in the Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Winona, Grimsby area. Come a visit us soon. We can help you access the state of your wipers and the wiper washer system of you vehicle.
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